Friday, April 04, 2008


Good news today. For the last two years I've been squatting in what should have been one of the Fellows' guest rooms. Next week I get to return to my own office and I went to have a look around today. The room itself was locked up but the college have decided to do a makeover on the staircase with new carpets and a lick of paint. It all looks very nice; there are even new signs pointing people in the right direction around the maze of corridors. It will be good to get back. I suppose most Cambridge fellows feel very proprietorial about the offices (or 'rooms'; in my case there's only one room, so it's not so appropriate). In fact, it is the issue which generates the most envy between people in college and can generate the strongest feelings if there is ever a proposal to move someone out or rearrange office distribution... In Corpus, it is one of the few things that is at the sole discretion of the Master, and it is not a power which I would want to have.

Other good news. While waiting for the new Portishead album (Third, out April 28) I can listen to the new James album, out on Monday. I might even dig out my old t-shirt to celebrate. There's some info about it (the album, not the t-shirt) here. From a sneaky listen to the preview tracks it's recognisably the sound that takes me straight back to a Sixth Form common room and arguments over the tape player which usually ended with a compilation of 'Come Home', 'How was it for you?' and (though this is a bit hazy) something by The Wonder Stuff (possibly: 'It's yer money I'm after baby'). Heady times. But what has happened to Tim Booth's hair? I thought the silly beard was a prop for his appearance as Judas in the (cringeworthy) Manchester Passion. But apparently not. (Here he is, by the way, if you can bear it, singing 'Heaven knows I'm miserable now' (2 mins into the clip.) I can't count how many ways this is so wrong. To do this to this song... Why? Just because it mentions 'heaven'? The horror. The horror.)

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